Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I haven’t blogged for a while and I am too tired to really write something tonight. But I wanted to say just this: I think my thirties were all about feeling so powerful and so capable and so invincible. My thirties were about seeing other people’s faults and weaknesses mostly and feeling slightly victimized by my own lack of power, because of course I deserved so much power!

And my forties. Well, I am forty seven, so it’s not totally over – the forties. But my forties are all about feeling so small and so barely capable and very, very not-invincible. And my forties are about seeing – well, I don’t want to say “weaknesses” because that will appear to be begging a compliment, and I am not saying that. I mean, my forties are about seeing my own limitations and my astonishment at the amount of power I do have ( for example, someone handed me a child and I appear to be in charge of her…) and my slow but building realization that I am partly faking it so that no will realize that I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.


We had our first screening of “Letting Go of God” today. I have no idea how it is. I will not even venture to guess. But we got notes, good notes, from people who know about such things, and we are editing away.

Also, I am getting married. Next year. February. Not in a church, of course. Fortunately my fiancé does not require a clean house or even a swept floor. Just sparkling conversation. And jeez! I can do that!

See, I can do some things!

Only not just now. Now, I must sleep so we can continue with our endeavor tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Big big congrats on your upcoming marriage! I remember you talking about (what I assume is) this guy at M Bar a while back, and yay... it's worked out!

Can't wait to see the movie. Love the show; saw it three times, I think.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on your engagement!

I am glad to hear that the editing is proceeding apace, and thanks again for starting and maintaining this forum.

How we mark and perceive the decades in our lives must be quite individualistic or idiosyncratic. Maybe I was lying to myself or just not noticing, but I didn't feel much different, any less empowered or competent, in my 40s compared to my 30s. I am 52 now, and at 50 I think I began feeling my age, where I really didn't feel my age at 40 or 45. At the same time, now that I am past 50, I feel more empowered and more authoritative, the Voice of Experience, at least in my professional life. Beats me.

Jeff D

A said...

Congtratulations!!!!! Tell your loyal readers about your fiance when you get a chance!

Brian said...

Congratulations on your engagement.

I always enjoy reading your thought here on the blog.

Anonymous said...

At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment. -- Benjamin Franklin

Mcglk said...

Julia, allow me to hop on the bandwagon in congratulating you on your upcoming marriage. I hope it brings you ever so much joy and contentment!

And I’m looking forward to seeing Letting Go of God; I’m sure it will turn out wonderfully.

Oddly, your remark about “partly faking it” brought to mind David Letterman’s remark in the monologue he delivered in the first Late Show after 9/11: “There is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage defines all other human behavior. I believe pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.”

Mrs. Flinger said...

I just purchased Letting Go of God and I just heart you for being so able to say everything I've tried to wrap my brain around in such a wonderful way. And also? You have a blog? Which makes me heart you more for being so real and reachable and human.

Congratulations on your marriage! Many blessings to you both.

Sheldon said...

I thought I saw a little twinkle in your eye as you sat next to each other at TAM5, and it turns out I was right. You're crazy about the boy. Well, kudos to you both for finding each other (albeit in a wacky way).

See you in September at the Atheist Alliance International Convention! (

Meg said...

Congratulations and wishes for much happiness on your engagement!

Can't wait to see the movie!

hughman said...

ah... the forties are so. um, interesting. i'm 46. the collision of the "all powerful" 30s and the fading 50s.

congrats on your marriage. i've given up human relationships. i have a sweet beagle (plus i have AIDS) but i admire your resiliance.

we talked a few times for an article i was writing for you were so charming. you deserve the best.

Kimberly said...


First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your engagement!

I am so glad to be able to send a message to you. You have been on my mind all day today as I just finished listening to Letting Go of God. I can relate to just about everything. I was raised in the ever so strict religion - Jehovah's Witnesses. I decided it wasn't for me about 10 years ago and I guess they did too because they ex-communicated me! How dare they! :) All the heat you talked about getting from your parents, I got that too in the beginning. Now they are more accepting but still NEVER have asked me what I believe in now. Interesting huh? :)

I call my venture - my "floating years." I felt like I was just afloat out there not grasping onto one belief or another. Just gazing at all of them from afar and saying, "hmmm, interesting." It has only been the past few months that I have really asked myself what I believe in. Here I was getting all flustered about my parents not asking me when I hadn't even asked myself!

Everything you said in Letting Go of God is just it. That is exactly how I feel and I feel so free and so relaxed about it.

Of the 10 years I have been away from any religion, 9 of those years I was about an hour away from all of my family who were still practicing. So, I could keep pretty distant about everything. They are supposed to shun me anyways since I am the "spawn of the Devil" being ex-communicated and all. :) My husband and our 2 baby boys just moved closer to all of my family - only 15 minutes away now. Well, now it is just so interesting- being around my parents especially. Just some of the things they say, you know, the "religious" things crack me up. I found myself rolling my eyes today when my Mom was telling me how she was talking to "Jehovah God" and blah blah blah. I have to really restrain myself and not crack up out loud! :)

I applaud you for being true to yourself and having such an open mind and then sharing all of your adventure with the world. I am glad to know that I am not the only one out there that has searched for something else and have actually found happiness without "God." :) Thank you!

In regards to your blog - my Mom says that for a woman, your 20s are a waste of emotion. I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers. When my sisters and I each turned 12, she told us that she wished at that point in time, she could bury us and dig us back up when we were 25. It would just be easier than going through the hormones of PMS and all of the crying and cattiness! So she reminded me of that when I was 23 and I called her crying about my life - I think it was about a boy - and she just laughed. I got upset and asked why she was laughing and she said, "Kimberly, remember that in my mind you are still buried. Call me when you are 25 and maybe I can help." What a mama! :)

Sorry for my big long blog but I am just so excited that I am able to send a message to you being that you have been on my mind. Again, thank you!


Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog a few months ago and love it! Also, I wanted to say congratulations on your engagement and on getting closer to finishing the movie!

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov!

Greg Epstein said...

Massive Congrats on the engagement!! If you need any help at all, or a referral, for putting together the ceremony, I'd be absolutely delighted. I'm really happy for you guys. a
Greg M. Epstein
Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University

Bjorn Watland said...


Thanks for making the trek to Chicago, it was a blast, even with your perfect imperfections!

My engagement has been the biggest issue with my parents, even before I "came out" as an atheist. First it was, "Well, you're getting married in a church, right?" Then my grandma chimed in, "Well, who's going to marry you, a pastor, right?" Then, "You're going to mention God right?" I'm doing everything wrong, gathering my friends and family, to celebrate a choice I have made to share my life with someone I love, but refusing to treat the marriage like an exchange of property, as has been historically done, and refusing to submit to the idea that a god provides authority to a person the ability to bind together two people in marriage.


Thanks again for Chicago, we were late, and couldn't stay around to chat. We had to head to a suburb for a signing by Hemant Mehta, author of "I Sold My Soul On eBay." This was also a blast. And, the Planetarium the next day was a blast, it was a great vacation!

Skin Care Girl said...

Congratulations on your engagement!

When I read your thoughts about being in your 40s, I thought, WOW I feel the same! Makes me not feel so bad about myself.:) Thanks! lol So....that means our 50s will be Wonderful Darling.:)

Love and Blessings,

Unknown said...

Congratulations! Reading that has made my morning. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for your Marriage, Julia!

God Bless....

Anonymous said...

I got married when I was 38 and am an atheist--it was such a mind boggling decision. I wanted to be with my husband and have a rite of passage that made it official, but I never wanted what every girl wanted, Cinderella wedding. So weird to go through. Maybe you've already made peace with the fact that your wedding won't be what the world expects. I was blindsided by the weight of it all. Always so sure I knew what I wanted until it was all over and people were asking me questions I didn't expect (goddam baby shit for me). Anyhow, it's the best thing I ever did with all of its hiccups and work! Best wishes to you!

Philly said...

I'm well into my fifties, sistergirl, and it ain't no picnic. But to paraphrase Miss Celie..."I may be old, I may be ugly, but I'm here." And for that I'm grateful.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your engagement. Very pleased for you, and wish you long years ahead of happiness and sparkling conversation!!

Anonymous said...

Engagement: congratulations, Julia!

Forties: If you have Billy Joel's River of Dreams album, give a listen to the song "Shades of Grey".

I'm an agnostic atheist, said...

Congrats on your upcoming marriage!!! Can't wait for the DVD, so edit away!

Okay, one complaint... I'm in my thirties (just ten years behind you) and as a male, I don't feel empowered, so much. I feel mostly like I'm glad that I'm not in my twenties any longer --because I was such a cocky nitwit. I just feel like I'm nearing a point where I'll finally understand this life thing. AND YOU'RE TELLING ME I WON'T GAIN THIS UNDERSTANDING IN MY FORTIES EITHER!!! AAAAARGH!

Theodore Street said...

Last week I listened to the NPR rebroadcasts of the cancer piece and the religion monologue.

I thought this is great -- it's a good contrast to all the folks who trip over their feet trying to get at spirituality without religion, or a particular religion. Like why not just get rid of religion, and reclaim your brain. If you are awake, that means you are conscious -- therefore the whole territory of your thoughts is a personal matter, unless you're talking to other people.

What a relief Julia, and you have such a clear voice and the ability to convey the news, the good news for modern atheists.

Cheers, and all the best with your plans.

Fargofan1 said...

Your fiance is one lucky guy. Speaking of lucky, I'm 30 now and I can't wait to feel "so powerful and so capable and so invincible." Yeah, bring it! I'm waiting... ;)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Julia & M.! That is fantastic news! It was great seeing you at the LGOG filming in May, and I look forward to seeing you both at TAM5.5 or TAM6. You have gotten him hooked on TAM, haven't you? ;-)

Megynn said...

Congratulations, Julia. By the way, I've always thought you were brilliant, and hilarious. You have a way of seeing life's humor, and pointing out the things that connect all of us as humans. My friend, Heinz, gave me an old CD of the Uncabaret. You're wonderful on that! You talked about your brother's illness, including him not wanting a "spigot"....
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
I'm turning 40 this year and hope that my 40's are better than my 30's, which were definitely better than my 20's.

Be well.

Anonymous said...

Julia...thanks for blogging. What a comfort it is to check in now and then with someone who is able to articulate the same things I'm feeling.

(40 year old mom of 4)

Anonymous said...


You know, I'm looking at the post on courage and I really don't think courage defines all human behavior. I think that'd be empathy (which some might say takes some courage). Empathy is really the sole trait which makes us human..or, let me put that differently...the most distinguishing human trait.

I realized that in my early 20's, started really focusing and trying to practice it in my 30's. And well, I'm rambling and caffeine can generally be a pretty good thing, but I'll stop it here.

Can't wait to see the film.

Tom Nowitzky said...

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

One quick related comment: When my wife and I got married seven years ago, the gentleman who married us was a former jesuit priest, now a confirmed skeptic.

So, the word "god" was conspicuously absent from the ceremony.

Some of the guests had the gall of actually making a point of coming up to us and criticizing the ceremony because of it. Right then and there, between the wedding and the reception.

I guess I kind of enjoyed that criticism. It was kinda my way of coming out of the closet.

It appears that the fanatics want to own the concept of marriage exclusively...

I wish the best for you! Again, congratulations.


Unknown said...

Hey, don't let the years get to you... I had a crush on you on SNL, and as I've grown throughout my 20's, I only respect you more and more, and your affiliation with skepticism really is great, you can make a difference after all. Julia for president!!! No? Well, think about... we still need a viable candidate. Can't wait to see Letting Go of God!

kimberly/tippytoes said...

Congratulations on your engagement!

I feel the same way about my thirties (I'm 36), but I guess that may not be such a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Not married in a church -- ohmygod!

We did a city hall marriage 25 years ago, and we're still rolling. No magic, just one day at a time, and no "Gods" getting in the way to muck things up.

Just came across your blog. Sorry to understate things, but you are amazing!

You'll be amazing at 50, you'll be amazing at 60, and you'll be amazing at 70...etc., etc..

Anonymous said...

Oh Julia. Does it look good? Is it pretty?? I've been so very worried about it for months, I really want to see it sometime.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear "Letting Go of God" is on its way to moviedom. Your show and interviews have meant a lot to many of the members of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, which I work for. As a humanist clergyperson, I meet and marry lots of young (and not so young) people who want a meaningful ceremony without god-language, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful wedding--I hope you'll post your ceremony or parts of it. If you'd like any suggestions for reading, feel free to contact me. There are no Ethical Societies in your area, but there are many other humanist and humanist-friendly officiants out there I'm sure. Congratulations and thanks for your work.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the great news! Could I play piano at your wedding - as my gift to you? I mean I really do play regularly here in NYC and the people kinda like me... and you're one of my heroes.
That is if there is a piano at the place...
No matter what, I send you both my warmest hugs. :-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Hearing anyone's happy wedding news gives my newly divorced ass some hope. :-)

Have enjoyed your work for years.

Rock on, Sister.

alysdexia said...
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alysdexia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alysdexia said...

(one more time, in longhand)
Sorry about [your] marriage.

I was banned from Jill's Happytown by Tony Camas as he lets on offensive posts by theists but not offensive posts by atheists or antitheists, in rebuttal.

It is time to end this sickness. mule skinner, no, Go bloody you:

Start at Question Time and stop at my 13-point confutation of Kristianity:

There is no free will: Also heed the NT's speech about good and bad trees and fruit.

Please post this as a new entry.

I hate blogs.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your engagement.

I always enjoy reading your thought here on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Julia! Enjoy the heck out of the wedding thing, it can be so much fun. My second marriage at 41 was the formal Cinderella and tuxedo extravaganza (well kind of) neither we former hippies were interested in for our first weddings. Somehow it felt right for this wedding and it was.

I just listened to Godless America and had to find you to say...I've never heard a spiritual journey I could relate to so much...beginning with the happy Catholic experience and the hokeyness of other's religious stories bringing on questions about my own. I'll check out the whole story. Thanks for articulating it so well!

mbw said...

I just listened to Letting Go of God and I just love it. There are so many feelings you express that I can totally relate to. I stopped going to mass 20 years ago, when I was 19 and struggled with that decision until about 5 years ago. It was wonderful to hear someone asking out loud some of the questions I was asking in my mind. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal thing with the rest of us!

Vicarious Me said...

Hi Julia,

I'm new to your blog, but have been a fan since watching reruns of SNL on comedy central as a fact I own It's Pat! I know that in our society youth is envied, but in many ways I envy my elders. I am recently 24 and still grasping to find exactly in what direction I want my life to go. For now I am an actor and at this very moment sitting in a hotel room wondering exactly what I'm doing so far away from home. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the freedoms of limited responsibilities, but I have daily moments where I think to myself, " If only I knew." I suspect those will never go away even with age. Still, if only I knew.

I think that what binds us all together in this incredibly complicated world is the constant search for meaning and understanding. At almost a quarter of a decade I still don't know what I believe and I'm learning more and more everyday that that is absolutely okay. Good luck with your film, your engagement and the rest of your forties. I'll meet you there someday.

Until Then,

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your engagement, I'm getting married next year too. I'll photograph your wedding if you like, that's what I do. :)

Anonymous said...

I was raised a Jehovah's witness, talk about cult.
I could go on for hour's.
I became an atheist because I did not think it fair to credit a god with what is going on with humanity today.
That and the many discrepancies in the so called word of god,"bible"
In your monolog "letting go of god" which I loved at least the first fifteen min. I saw on youtube. you stated that the book peter wrote, the four gospels were only attributed who wrote them, now one even knows, and revelation is only "I john while imprisoned at patmos" What John?
This is as you know only a very small amount of flaws with this book. I tell every one to read Christianity the greatest story ever sold, and "the book your church does not want you to read"
Religion is the single most divisive thing in the world. and we need more people like you standing up and asking questions.

Even though you did it in an entertaining way, the questions were very serious and pointed.
I was told as a Jehovah's Witness or dubber as we Xs call them, That I think to much and ask to many questions of the Witness beliefs.
That I should not question and rely on god to provide the answer in time.
Well we have been waiting for the second coming for 2000 years and nothing, the Jews have been waiting for 4000, talk about fashionably late.
Jehovah's Witness believe that adherents should not go to collage, celebrate birth days,holidays, serve in the military [at this point in history so do I but that is another can of worms]
They do not take blood for any reason even if you could die and many have.
You can not associate with people who are not fellow believers, You have to go to 5 meetings a week, two one hour meetings on Thursday and one hour on Tuesday and two hour on sunday, you have to knock on doors called field service for at least 8 hours a month. If you want the title of pioneer you have to knock on doors 40 hours a week.
You are told what kind of sex you can have with your wife, or husband, you can not work and many jobs, I.E. any thing that supports the military, any military or government, you can not work in public office, anything to do with a casino, anything that supports the blood industry I.E. red cross, a glass factory that makes bags for whole blood for example. and many more.
We are kept on a constant state of "end of the world" status, I was raised as was my parents that the end of the world is near and you need to keep going to meetings or you will die at Armageddon.
All people will die at the end of the world that are not Dubber's.
It took the internet and standing on the shoulders of giants and much self searching and self help to bring myself to the idea that god is the figment of some twisted persons imagination.
I moved to the south from Michigan as when you leave the witness cult you are shunned, I mean that even if a mother talks to a child that is no longer in the cult they can be shunned for association with an unbeliever. All this is as I came to understand just a way of keeping control of people, and this is what religion is all about keeping control of people and by doing this they control your money.
In the end it all comes down to money. One way or a nother any religion will at some point make a pitch for your wallet.
I like the scenario I heard some where I don't recall where, "I go in my bedroom put my money on a tray and throw it up in the air, I tell god to keep what he needs and let the rest drop to the floor, So far god has been very generous with me."
I was told by a room temp. IQ that Christians have done all the good in the world that has ever been done, I jumped in and said, I know like the inquisition, the crusades, Then I get the cold shoulder and they wont play any more.
Oh well, I can not return to that life style even though sometimes I think would it not be easier to just play as if you believe to get along with people? No I can't do it. I have to be true to what I believe.
One good thing because I do not tithe I will have the money to buy your dvd letting go of god when it comes out.
Keep up the fight.
T. Babcock
Arkansas, P.S. I have heard all the jokes thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,
I just read an interview with 60 minutes about "Letting Go of God" or you being an Athiest. I am an athiest too and I love it when other people especially well liked people admitt that they are. Anyway, I wish you the best in life and career.